Tag Archives: Paris

Day 2: Paris, Full Throttle

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We left the ship at 9am and got back at 10pm. Yes, I can hear you all saying, we had an Ellen day!

We slept pretty well, staying in bed until 7. Breakfast on the ship was good, a standard buffet. Around 9 when the buses were loading for the city tour, we headed out on our own. We had too much to do to ride around on a bus for half the day.

Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower. It was cold this morning, but the sun was breaking through the clouds. We had to wait for tickets, but it moved pretty fast, and we were then up to the top. There was a great view from the top, but it was too cold to stay outside so high for long.

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Next stop was the Louvre. We took the subway a few stops and walked over the Seine. Again, the museum card saved us an hour of standing in line to get tickets. We were only really here for the biggies, so we beelined to the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Maybe trite, but worth it.

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We stopped at Sanseveria on Rue de Rivoli for lunch. Ellen had a croque Monsieur, and I had the most beautiful tomato and mozzarella plate ever. I think it was the peeled tomatoes and salt on the basil that did it.

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We then made a little shopping excursion, so Ellen could pick up a Thomas Sabo bauble or two. No trip to Paris would be complete without it!

Next was our last museum for Paris, Musee de l’Orangerie. Some fantastic Renoir and Monet paintings, topped by Monet’s Water Lillie’s that complete two round rooms with surrounding paintings.

I had wanted to stroll down the Champs Élysées when we were coming back from Switzerland a few years ago but we timed it perfectly with the last stage of the Tour de France and ran screaming from the crowds. So this time there were just shoppers, no cyclists. Well, there was some sort of parade going through the Arc de Triomphe, but that was okay.

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Last stop of the night was dinner. Ellen found a traditional Fench restaurant in a guidebook, and well, that was enough. Se we went to Dominique Bouchet. We each had the leg of lamb with carrots and puréed potatoes. We were given a chef’s treat of asparagus mousse, which was really good. Following dinner we declined dessert, but ended up with a tray of a truffle, marshmallow, caramel and cookie. Just the right amount, and Ellen just loves when there are these extra touches as part of a meal.

We metro’d back to the Eiffel Tower, and walked to the ship. The tower and the Statue of Liberty were lit, a pretty way to see Paris for the last night until we come back on Saturday night.

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Two end notes: I made some of the pictures smaller than I’d like, and that is because of the slow Internet on the ship. And I am observing Passover by EDT since that’s where I’ll be when it ends. So include me in abstentia in your Seders tonight. I brought matzah and other supplies so there is no danger of my starving.


Day 1: We Take Paris

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This vacation has gotten off to a great start. Our flight on Air France left and arrived on time. Even though we were in Economy, we were relatively comfortable, enjoying adjoining aisle seats. I watched the ESPN “30 for 30” on Jimmy Valavano, entitled “Survive and Advance” on my iPad NC State’s championship year was my senior year at Duke, so I remember it well. Film brought tears to my eyes, tracing the paths of that season and Jimmy V’s cancer fight.

We arrived in Paris around 8:30am local time on Sunday. Passport control was easy. We waited awhile for out luggage, at which time we found that my phone was working with Verizon Global Data, but Ellen’s wasn’t. That wouldn’t work out well. So a quick Skype call to tech support got that straightened out by the time our luggage came out. Viking took care of our transfer, so we hopped on their bus to our ship.

The ship is docked just a 10 minute walk south oft the Eiffel Tower. Our room was ready when we arrived. We ate a light lunch in the lounge, and then spirited off the ship to get going. An advantage of all our travel is we can hit the ground running. We don’t have the “stranger in a strange place” feeling anymore, so we just pinch ourselves that we are in Paris and try to take advantage of it.

First stop was Musee D’orsey, which we got to via a 3 stop ride on the Metro. It is housed in a train station built in 1900 for the World’s Fair and houses the best impressionist collection anywhere.

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One of the brilliant things Ellen did to plan this trip was to buy a 2 day Paris museum pass and have it delivered at home before we left. That way we completely skipped an hour long line and went straight in. Time is your most precious commodity when traveling, so getting to do more and not waste time in line is terrific.

We enjoyed the Monets, Renoirs, Van Goghs etc. We then walked along the Seine and had a snack at a pastry shop on the left bank. I need to get my baguettes in before Passover starts.

Next we walked to Sainte Chapelle. The stained glass in the church is just breathtaking.

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Last destination of the day is Ellen’s favorite place on earth, Notre Dame Cathedral. She says she feels a spirituality there unlike anywhere else. Palm Sunday services were going on, so it took about 20 minutes to get in, but it was worth the wait. It appeared to be the Cardinal giving the sermon.

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We each got tokens from Notre Dame, for 2€, commemorating the church’s 850th year this year. Pretty amazing, right?

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We took the Metro back to the ship, arriving back around 6pm. We had originally intended to go out to a restaurant for dinner, but not having napped at all, we were too tired to have enjoyed that. So we ate on the ship, enjoying a great steak in beer dish that was quite tasty. We were joined by a couple currently living in Mexico, but perhaps moving soon to Ashville, NC. We had an interesting conversation.

We are now ready to collapse. We have a full day in Paris tomorrow and have lots to accomplish. We hear there may be sun tomorrow, so maybe the pictures won’t all be so gloomy.

One technical note for those who get email notification of new blog entires: the ship features free WiFi, which is wonderful. The speeds however are not. So I have to upload in pieces, especially the pictures. So wait an hour after you get the email, and then come looking.

Good night!


“In a day I’ll be in gay Paris…

Imagethat’s a mighty long airplane ride.”

I’ll give extra points (and eat a baguette) for anyone who knows who’s lyric I stole and adapted there.

Ellen and I are off for our next trip tonight. We will take our third Viking River Cruise, this time a 8 day cruise from Paris to Normandy.

We are excited to get back to Europe, to spend the first day and a half in Paris, then make our way to Normandy.

So come along for the ride. Comment if you have questions or suggestions. Sign up in the upper right corner to get email updates with each post.

Au revoir!